Facebook, Google and Twitter should provide monthly reports on their fight against disinformation, two senior EU officials said on Wednesday when they called on Russia and China to play their part in spreading fake news.
EU foreign policy commentator Josep Borrell and European Commission Vice President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova commented on the bloc's concerns about the spread of misleading news about COVID-19 and attempts by foreign actors to influence Europe.
"It has really shown that disinformation damages not only the health of our democracies, but also the health of our citizens. It can have a negative impact on the economy and undermine the response of the authorities and thus weaken health measures," Jourova told a press conference.
She said the next bogus news was vaccination, citing a study showing that Germans' willingness to vaccinate had dropped 20 percentage points in two months.
The Commission said online platforms should provide monthly reports detailing their actions to promote relevant content and limit disinformation and advertising related to corona viruses.
Jourova also said that Chinese video app TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, will join the block's voluntary code of conduct to combat counterfeit messages on its platform. The code of conduct is signed by Google, Facebook, Twitter and Mozilla.
Borrell described the fake news fight as warriors who wore keyboards rather than swords.
"Foreign actors and certain third countries, in particular Russia and China, have carried out targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns in the EU, its neighborhood and worldwide," said the Commission.
The EU executive plans to counteract foreign actors by strengthening its communication strategy and diplomacy and by supporting free and independent media, fact checkers and researchers.